Do You Eat Enough Leafy Greens?
Chances are, you have a little lettuce on your lunch sandwich, a side salad with dinner, and if you are really doing well, there is some spinach mixed in with your entree. But really, we are all eating on the run, and unless you stake out some territory for a big Winter Waldorf Salad, or Pesto Kale Salad, you probably don’t get more than a cup. According to the CDC, only 9% of Americans actually eat the recommended amount of vegetables.
This Big Greens Soup is a great way to make sure you truly enjoy your leafy greens.
How Much Kale Is Enough?
The USDA recommends 3 cups of cooked vegetables per day, which is conservative. Dr Weill and other experts recommend up to 5 servings, to fight inflammation and prevent disease. Leafy greens are fluffy, so to get 3 cups of cooked greens you need to start with 6 cups of raw greens. Of course you should eat other veggies as well. Kale is known as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, with high levels of vitamins A, K, B6 and C, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese, and antioxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. Spinach is no slouch, either with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Both are high in fiber and low in calories.
This soup contains 16 cups of raw leafy greens, pureed down to make about four cups of soup. That means a one cup serving of creamy, delectable greens soup counts as four cups of raw leafy greens. By pureeing, you make a towering pile of greens into a creamy, concentrated veggie soup.
Of course, you should enjoy eating leafy greens in a balanced way, and this soup is perfect for that. If you have thyroid issues, kidney stones or are on blood thinners, ask your doctor how many servings of leafy greens you can eat.
The Crunchy Garnish Makes It
In my former life in restaurant kitchens, I learned that a soup should never leave the kitchen naked. Adding a garnish on top of a bowl of warm soup is an easy way to add color, texture, and curb appeal to your simple soup. I went with toasted almonds, which are good with just about every soup, but you can improvise, too. Herb sprigs, crushed crackers or croutons, even diced apples or pears make lovely toppers.
Eat your leafy greens, deliciously.
Big Greens Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 cup chopped white sweet potato or Yukon Gold potato
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 bunch kale about 8 ounces/8 cups
- 8 ounces baby spinach about 8 cups
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to taste
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the onions. Stir, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let them soften and caramelize a bit, at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.
- Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then add the sweet potatoes and stock and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
- When the sweet potatoes are tender, stir in the kale, cover the pot, and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Uncover the pot, stir in the spinach, and cover. Simmer for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and puree. Season to taste with lemon juice.Serve warm, sprinkled with almonds.
- FOR GARNISH: Place the sliced almonds in a small saute pan and swirl over medium-high heat until lightly golden, then transfer to a bowl to cool.